What Are They Key Achievements Of Breast Cancer Clinical Trials?
I’ve been managing women with breast cancer for around 25 years, and I’ve been a doctor for around 30, and when I started off in medical school unfortunately nearly 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer would eventually actually die of their disease. That number now is much, much less than that. In fact, we’ve improved the outcome in terms of survival from breast cancer by more than 20% over the last 30 years.
That means that the vast majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive their disease and hopefully be cured. All of those achievements are due to improvements in treatment which have come through breast cancer clinical trials.
Many of these trials have been in new drug therapies, such as new endocrine or chemotherapy agents, or excitingly more recently the targeted therapies, and perhaps into the future the immune therapies.
But there’s also been exciting advances in both surgery, radiotherapy, and even in supportive care – all of which have been backed by good clinical trials to show us the benefits of those and also what some of the downsides are so that we can continue to improve our treatments and get even better – nut just at survival, but improving quality of life for patients diagnosed with breast cancer.
So there’s been a dramatic change both in survival but I think, really importantly, in the quality of women’s survival. So women now not only are living longer and hopefully much more likely to be cured of their breast cancer, but our treatments are less toxic, cause less side effects, and we’re getting better at managing the side effects that come from both the cancer and its treatment.
Again, most of those advances are due to breast cancer clinical trials.
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Professor Christobel Saunders explains what have been some of the key achievements of this research which have led to advances in the treatment of breast cancer.
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